Aviation maintenance industry is hot. The business is huge and growing. And, it needs vital and energetic supply chains to support its future. The industry is going global to meet its market demands.
In IndustryWeek, Boeing and Airbus report they “have orders on the books that are at all-time highs. Between the two, over 10,000 planes are on order. If they both were to not take another order, based on estimated deliveries in 2014 of 1380 planes, the two companies have business that will last them until 2022!”
Airplane architecture is lighter and more efficient. Demand is higher in regions with expanding populations.
Despite the market energy, challenges remain. For example, the paperwork alone on every part and every assembly feed compliance agencies on an international scale. The compliance demands for expanding internationally put pressure on every step in the supply and logistics process as well as the plane manufacturing.
The bid competitors stay competitive by managing costs. So, they put suppliers on notice that present and future costs must meet their specs. That’s good for suppliers willing to compete and bad for those not paying attention to the needs. Business and price agility become drivers.
And, the supply chain needs to accelerate its development and readiness. It does not enjoy the luxury of finding its own footing. It needs to offer parts and tools ahead of any learning curve and ready for the world of new aviation engineering.
Take something as small as Cleco fasteners used to keep sheets in place before riveting. Small parts supplying distributorships must know the product specifications, inventory options, and applications. The small business needs the agility to form personal customer-OEM relationships to cut corners, manage pricing, and deliver on time.
The successful small business in the supply chain is nimble enough to respond quickly and personably where larger distributors cannot serve precisely because of their size. In doing so, the business satisfies the big customer, builds relationships, and strengthens brand.
To survive and succeed, your small business must bring process to the supply chain. That is, you must be positioned to buy, manage, and sell small parts using process and technology to accelerate orders, manage inventory, and anticipate needs.
Every delivery must be as-ordered and on-time. You cannot leave room for the competitor more agile than you. And, this often involves getting into the head and processes of the customer. You need to understand their culture and align your values and performance with their goals.
You must know the customer business well enough to forecast their needs and how you can solve their future needs with price awareness and cost effectiveness. You must have a plan for how and where you will meet their needs in three years or five.
As a new small business, you may lack the historical data to begin customer research and sales forecasting. But, you must press forward with your long-range marketing plan. As Entrepreneur writes, “There’s no business owner who isn’t qualified to forecast sales–you don’t need a business degree or accountant’s certification. What you need is common sense, research of the factors, and motivation to make an educated guess.”
Still, it takes your common sense, a sharp sense of desired profit margins, and the ability to respond to the unpredictable. You want to plan the success of your aviation maintenance distributorship with financial cushions, personal flexibility, and state-of-the-art technology support.